Call for answers on ambulances

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has called for answers on ambulance delays and shortages in the Wellington Shire.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr O’Brien, who is also Shadow Assistant Minister for Ambulance Services, asked the Minister for Ambulance Services, Martin Foley what additional services have been added to the Wellington Shire over the past financial year.

Mr O’Brien highlighted that he had recently raised a number of specific examples of concern for ambulance service across the region but was now seeking information on what was being done on a larger scale to prevent such instances from occurring in the future.

“I have had numerous complaints about ambulance services taking a long time or even not being available at all—some people are even just being referred to drive themselves to hospital,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I’ve written to the Minister and provided specific details of each of these instances, but I am seeking assurances that steps are being taken to improve the poor performance of our ambulance services given the significant strain on the health system more broadly.”

Recent Ambulance Victoria response time performance data* shows a state average response time of less than 15 minutes in 83.9 per cent of code 1 callouts. This is in comparison to just 60.1 per cent in the Wellington Shire.

“This data is only for code 1 cases – that is emergency responses with lights and sirens that are not able to arrive in under 15 minutes when lives are on the line.

“We are regularly seeing ambulances having to be dispatched from distant towns because there are just not enough ambulances available when needed.

“That is not good enough and I seek the information to find out where the new services are for my region.”

Mr O’Brien said the Andrews Labor Government can’t just continue making excuses.

“Daniel Andrews said he would end the ambulance crisis and stop ramping – that is ambulances having to wait to offload patients at hospitals – but this has clearly not occurred.

“Indeed, the feedback I get from the community and our hard-working paramedics is that things have never been tougher.

“It’s up to the Andrews Government to address these issues and ensure that people in the greatest need of an ambulance get it as quickly as possible.”

*https://discover.data.vic.gov.au/dataset/ambulance-victoria-lga-response-time-performance

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